Best Practices

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Best Practices 2017-05-18T20:05:48+00:00

Team projects template

It may take some time to input project members and to change project calendar (working day and non working day setting), if there are more projects for a team to be created:
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[li_item icon=””]Create a empty project, and input the project members and update the project calendar (do it using QuickPlan for Mac will be more efficient)[/li_item]
[li_item icon=””]Treat the empty project as a template, when we need to create a new project, just duplicate from the template project[/li_item]
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(Input all your team members in the template project, and remove the members in the new duplicated project if they are not in the project, because removing is much more faster than inputting)

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Structure of project tasks

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We can’t say it is a problem if we input 1000+ tasks with more (for example 2000+) task links in a single project. Yes, if we can spend enough efforts to plan the thousands of tasks and links well, we will get a “perfect” project schedule for tracking and re-scheduling.

Let’s think a little more about this approach

[checklist icon=”fa-question-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Is it convenient to update task status when review with the team?[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Is the management cost acceptable to change something if need to broke the link relationship?[/li_item][li_item icon=””]We can trust the app, but do we really trust the result of re-scheduling? You changed one task, and the app does well to change the date of linked task correctly, but do you really think after task be re-scheduled automatically based on task links, the new schedule is the right one with good resource allocation and short duration?[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Is the schedule is a clear map in your mind after completed the schedule? And are your team members easily to get started from the schedule?[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Is it a good practice to see too many tasks together on an iOS device? (Although QuickPlan is the most smooth Gantt chart app, there is no performance issue, to navigate in a list with thousands of items is still not a good practice) or even on a Mac device?[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””]

We have some suggestions for you to use QuickPlan

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#81d742″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Organize tasks in main and sub projects, make sure that in each project, the task count is less (for example, less than 200. Although QuickPlan is still be very smooth if thousands of tasks in a single project)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]According to your actual situation, if the project team has some sub teams, (if possible) plan the tasks for each sub team in a sub project. This will helps more when you work with each team separately[/li_item][li_item icon=””]According to your actual situation, if the project is separated as multiple phases, (if possible) organize the project phases in sub projects may be helpful more[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Organize tasks well in task groups. QuickPlan task group is REAL task group, we can easily to move the task group to adjust date of the tasks in the group together. Task group can also be converted to sub project.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]If possible and the project is not that complicated, avoid to use task link, organize the tasks well in groups. Moving task group to reschedule is more intuitive than task links. (Even using task links to re-schedule, we still need to check if the new schedule is good)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]If we find we need to lay out tasks in many outline levels, there may be space for us to structure tasks well.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]If we find we have to write long or complicated notes for a task, we may find that we have not done well on the other documentation works. Project schedule is not the requirement, not the design, not the testing case …[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Although a long task name is accurate, the long task name may trouble us more when communicating with team members. A short task name with a little long notes may be better.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Leave team members be flexible to manage their very short duration tasks, keep project schedule be accurate but be simple enough. For example, using tools like agile board to manage tasks in short term may help to the planning be more clear, simple and reality.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]We may need to balance the accuracy and management cost. If possible, leave your team members be flexible will result better.[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth]

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iCloud Drive Project Access

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iCloud Drive acts like a shared folder on the internet, which supports to sync files across devices automatically, without strong versions control – this means the RISK that “incorrect changing will be extended to other devices without the control of the user and apps”. For example, removing file on one device incidentally, on other devices, the file also will be removed (it may happens before we realize it), And we can just do a simple testing using Apple Number: open a document at two devices at same time, on one device to input, on another device to change the document other way, and then save on the devices …

To mitigate preceding the risk, we suggest NOT to access the project files on iCloud directly (although QuickPlan is able to), the suggested iCloud Drive project access approach is

Copying from iCloud to the device -> changing on the device -> coping back to iCloud after checked

 

(some users may expect that if to open same project on two or more devices, after changed on one device, the changes will be shown in the opened same project on other devices. Because tasks in project schedule are in TREE structure, there is tight relationship between tasks compare to simple list apps such as Apple number, it will cause big problem when changing project at same time on more devices. For example, if to change outline level of tasks in a same task group on multiple devices, there is NO WAY for the app to keep tasks be lay out correctly. The way is that change on one device, after sync complete, open it on other device)

 

As we have the project copies on multiple devices, we have chance to get the correct project file from the devices if project file on iCloud drive be changed incorrectly.

 

You will find following the approach is really very easy, although the description is a little long

[/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”4″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]QuickPlan for Mac[/title][checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#81d742″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]After QuickPlan for Mac be installed and iCloud be set correctly, “QuickPlan” directory will be created in the “iCloud Drive” folder by the OS X system automatically.

SyncFeature1[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Copy project file from QuickPlan iCloud Drive directory to another directory before editing. For example to create a new directory with name “working space” out of iCloud Drive directory and copy the project file to “working space” directory.
(Check the project modified date to make sure the project file sync completed if project has be changed on other device.)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Open the copied project file (in “working space” directory)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]After saved and checked, replace the project file on the QuickPlan iCloud Drive directory by the updated file in “working space” directory.[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”4″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]QuickPlan for iPad & QuickPlan for iPhone[/title][checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#81d742″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]It€™s better to create a local project group in home view, for example to create a project group named €œiCloud Drive Copy€[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Before editing a project on iCloud Drive, copy it to the project group €œiCloud Drive Copy€
(QuickPlan list the project files on iCloud Drive by date, this will help us to check if the files sync completed after project be updated on other devices)

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IMG_0566[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Open the copied project in the €œiCloud Drive Copy€ group and edit. (this copied project file is on the iOS device)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]After checked, copy it back to iCloud Drive (we can save it to a new project file on iCloud Drive, or replace a existing project file on iCloud Drive)

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IMG_0568[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”4″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Notes[/title]

According to this approach, by default, the “open” iCloud Drive project file menu is disabled, the option can be changed in the iCloud setting page.
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[/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”4″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Trouble shooting[/title]

Please make sure SAME iCloud account on multiple devices, and iCloud Drive option is enabled in iCloud setting

As the iCloud transfer is controlled by iOS and OSX system, the sync speed is based on network situation and iOS/OSX coordination, sometimes after we changed a project on a device, and then open it on another deivce, the project content may still not be changed. We may doubt if there is problem caused by QuickPlan, to check if it’s caused by file transfer (controlled by OS system), we can just check the project file modify date:


[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#81d742″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]On Mac, check the project file last modified date in QuickPlan iCloud Drive directory[/li_item][li_item icon=””]On iOS device, using “iCloud Drive” app (provided by Apple with iOS)  to check the latest modify date:
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(please make sure to tap on the “i” icon)

 

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Data safety

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Although it’s not normal, but we always face the risk that app data be lost and app data be changed incorrectly

[checklist icon=”fa-eye-slash” iconcolor=”#dd3333″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Device may be lost or damaged[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Your projects be removed incidentally (for example, by your baby)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Project data be changed incorrectly on the iCloud Drive[/li_item][li_item icon=””]And …[/li_item][/checklist][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”30″ bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]

The best practice we will suggest for your important project data on the iOS devices.

[checklist icon=”fa-check” iconcolor=”#49af00″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Enable “Auto backup to Dropbox” property of the project

Pad.help.backup.2 Pad.help.backup.1[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Store the project on iCloud Drive and follow the best practice of iCloud Drive project access[/li_item][li_item icon=””]After project changed, manually export project to Dropbox, or export project to Box cloud storage (in-app sharing, just a few taps).If you want keep multiple versions of one project, when uploading, please specific another project name, for example a project €œdev plan€, we can upload a copy to cloud storage with name €œdev plan €“ version 1€.  (so if the project has be changed incorrectly someday, we have chance to restore by finding the backup file using version or date)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Duplicate project as a temp backup on the device[/li_item][/checklist]

The best practice we will suggest for your important project data on the Mac device.

[checklist icon=”fa-check” iconcolor=”#49af00″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Multiple copies of project files in multiple directories.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Install Dropbox app on the Mac and set automatic sync between the directory on the Mac with a folder on Dropbox[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Or using other backup tool on the Mac[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth]

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About task duration

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”5″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Planning tasks in short duration is probably cost inefficient for project management activities sometimes[/title]

For example if the project schedule includes some tasks with the duration like 9:00 – 10:00, 10:00 – 12:00 and etc.

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Team may need to change the schedule more frequently because of the short task duration
– Suddenly there is a meeting at 9:00, your boss asks all or some of your project members to join
– Some project members take leave
– Some predecessor tasks has been delayed
– Or something wrong  (such as power off, €¦)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Management efforts/cost for rescheduling may be much more higher than expectation (even higher than the cost for implementation if there are many short duration of tasks). Project schedule should reflect the changes, normally for a project team, to reschedule a task, following actions may have to be taken:
– Meet with team to review the progress
– Assign to suitable team member(s) to discuss and re-estimate
– Update project schedule, review and finalise with project team
– Communicate with stakeholders (include your customer, bosses, related teams and etc.)
– Documentation and reporting[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”5″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]For a project team, there are various types of tasks. Project schedule is NOT to manage ALL the tasks[/title]

Normally different concepts (and tools) are used to manage project tasks.

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Scheduled tasks in project schedule document (when start, when finish, who, cost …)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]TODO tasks (named like “action registration€, €œteam actions€, €œcustomer action registration€ or etc.)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Risks[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Tasks managed using Kanban or Agile board (the stage of the task in a process map)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Others (such as tasks not planned or tracked)[/li_item][/checklist][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]

Project schedule is to set the tasks to

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Guide the team how to executed the tasks – when to start, when finish, who do it, how much efforts, and etc.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Reflect the actual status of the project implementation – project team should be initiative to review the status and reschedule the task to reflect the actual status (if not be rescheduled for the changes, how to guide the team?)[/li_item][/checklist][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]

So the tasks in project schedule

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Tasks should be scheduled before execution[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Tasks should be updated  (reschedule) when executing if tasks can not be executed according to existing schedule[/li_item][li_item icon=””]The progress of tasks should be tracked well[/li_item][/checklist][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]

Comparing the TODO task and project schedule task

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Normally team just cares about when to finish the TODO task, who will own the tas, and the current status[/li_item][li_item icon=””]The management cost of project schedule is normally much higher than the management cost of TODO list. (Too accurate schedule means unacceptable management efforts)[/li_item][/checklist][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]

For some cases, it’s useful to schedule task with duration of hour (or even minutes). I€™d like suggest to think about if we can use other methods to manage the tasks before we follow project schedule process

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]If the short duration activities are in a stable workflow, can it be defined in a PROCESS?[/li_item][li_item icon=””]If it€™s suitable to using agile board to manage the tasks[/li_item][li_item icon=””]If TODO list is enough to manage the tasks[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”5″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Normally Project Schedule is NOT the only tool for project team to manage tasks[/title]

According the project process, different tools are used to manage project tasks (and something more than tasks, such as risk)

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Project Schedule[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Action registration[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Kanban, Agile board, White board…[/li_item][li_item icon=””]FMEA[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Meeting minutes, and more…[/li_item][/checklist]

Not all the tasks should be and is able to be scheduled in project schedule, The project manager needs to balance the use of the tools

[/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”5″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]The project team may need some other tools for short term activities[/title][checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#dd9933″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Define suitable process for the work-flow of short and related activities[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Using tools like agile board or KanBan for short duration cycle.[/li_item][/checklist]

Not all the tasks should be and is able to be scheduled in project schedule, The project manager needs to balance the use of the tools

[/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”5″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Our suggestions[/title]

We don’t mean that task duration can not be short, we just mean that normally very short duration is not a good practice, and QuickPlan is to fine-tune to useful features for normal use, which is not to include 100% features and also not for 100% projects

[checklist icon=”fa-circle” iconcolor=”#81d742″ circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” class=”” id=””][li_item icon=””]Plan the task in one day, and plan the effort (work) the hours you expect, leave the team member be flexible to manage the time in one day – better solution to balance schedule flexibility and management cost.[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Using project schedule to do the work of project schedule[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Balance management cost and accuracy (to be accuracy, but let project member be flexible enough)[/li_item][li_item icon=””]Schedule is high cost activity (as it is guide how to do, and reflect actual status), no need to manage todo tasks in project schedule (for example, a call to customer, if the call has no tight relationship with other tasks, or the call can be part of a task)[/li_item][/checklist][/fullwidth]

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